A Nigerian international filmmaker and art director, Ezekixl Akinnewu recounted how he was made to feel less African because some people attempted to ‘tone-police’ him for being flamboyant and exuberant.
He recounted he was racially gaslighted while working in the art sector and being “tone policed” by a colleague for being energetic and gorgeous.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse which was defined after the 1944 film Gaslight, a thriller about a young woman whose husband slowly tries to convince her she’s going insane.
Racial gaslighting is related specifically to psychological abuse surrounding racism in which a victim is led to doubt and question their own sense of reality with regard to racism.
Expert on the subject, Seattle University’s Angelique Davis said
abusers will make them (victims) question their own judgement through victim blaming, policing their tone of voice, denial, dismissiveness and manipulation.”
Akinnewu said: “When you are like that (energetic and joyous) around people of different races, they come and say, ‘why are you so loud?’ And when I say that it is just the way I am, they take it [that] you are being ‘aggressive'”.
The film maker lamented bitterly “I am not allowed to be who I am”. It made me feel low, unwanted and a foreigner in a country that I call home.
He explained that it’s like you are always reminded to stay in your place if you are a person of colour but believes nobody should have to feel that they don’t belong because of the colour of their skin.
He affirmed his identity saying: “Being loud in my culture and as an African man is seen as a form of love and trust and where you can be yourself.”
Akinnewu is a multi-talented award winning film-Maker, photographer and fashion designer from Essex.
The Nigerian born visionary was inspired by the culture and flamboyance of his country, surroundings and people and often intends to make a difference with his multiple talents.
He has worked with numerous charities and organisations such as ” T.R.U.S.T, T-FEST , Cancer Research UK , just to name a few .
He has also worked with creative individuals, brands and bodies such as ; Andre Abrahams ,1723 Studios, Clan Infamous, Jacob Banks, Clair Clottey, 1 Figures Apparel, Levelle london , Taliwhoah and Nathan Hector.
Others are Bamboss, Wayne & Wayne London ,Hue Clothing, Our Story Magazined , JAE , Vega , The Tab Lewisham, Cecevelli, Frank Ekwa, B side by Wale and Joshua Drakes.
He has horned outstanding pieces of Fashion, Art, Music, Photography and Film and l has become a force to be reckoned with within the scene of creativity in not only London but around the world